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Submitted on
October 22, 2009
Image Size
1.3 MB


76 (who?)
The Monster in the Cellar by M0AI The Monster in the Cellar by M0AI
Click download to see this image at 100% resolution!

To explain this image properly requires an annoying amount of links.

First of all, I have the honor of being a member of an awesome blog called Creature Spot [link] . It's a collective blog of some of the best creature designers in the fields of illustration and concept art. Recently, we've been experimenting with monthly themes, in which the artists of the blog each post their own interpretation of a certain theme, if they want to. The theme was September was to draw, or redesign, a monster from an old pulp magazine called Strange Tales. I did a terrible job of sticking to the theme; I painted this in October, and it turns out it's from a different magazine, Tales of Suspense!
This faintly ridiculous being is from a tale called "The Monster in my Cellar." The image I was working from to create this can be found here: [link] . Later, doing research, I found out that the image I'd been working from was a completely inaccurate rendition of the original monster from the story. The image I worked from shows the monster as a cyclops action figure with a lizard tail, while the original is much more lizard-like in overall form. Look here: [link] .

Another thing about this painting that might interest you is that I painted almost all of it live, recording it onto Livestream dot com. I had a great time chatting with my Deviantart and Facebook friends while painting this. If you're interested, you can watch recordings of these sessions. I warn you, though, that it's fragmented into many smaller videos, and each video has some dead spots where I'm just chatting and not painting (the chat part is not recorded, so it just appears that I'm doing nothing).
If ya still wanna watch, here's a link to my Livestream channel: [link] .

I was originally going to give this guy the full Moai treatment and write a story to accompany it. However, though several ideas and images popped into my head, no story solidified, so I present it to you storyless.
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Binaryrobot Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
LOVE the texture and length of the tail (8
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're so welcome! Do you create your own textures?
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
For this one, yeah, I just painted the textures right onto him. Sometimes I use photo textures, but usually for environments and manmade surfaces, not creatures.
HyruleUnicorn Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah. Well that's awesome 8D
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2009
Sorry it took me so long to comment on this. I love the tail and the body outline. This looks like something that would be comfortable one four or two legs, and I like how its spine seems to start nearly horizontal at the hips, then curve to the vertical to hold up the shoulders. Very cool. The head is the only part that looks silly to me. It doesn't match the sleekness of the rest of the animal, and the mouth doesn't look big enough to eat me (and that is a problem).
The hands, shoulders, and neck, though, are excellent. It looks both powerful and animal-like.

One question---why, with so much detail on the muscles of the shoulders and chest, is the belly so smooth?
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the comments, Daniel! In defense of the head (though your comments are perfectly valid), the silliness is somewhat deliberate. He's a bug-eyed, big-brained pulp monster, so so some silliness is inevitable, even desireable. Your point about the head not matching the sleekness of the rest of the body is something that concerns me more.

As for your point about his mouth not being big enough to eat you, you misjudge the poor beast! He's not some boorish ruffian who'll try to devour you whole. No, he's a gentlemanly mutant, who'll carve you up into neat chunks with a knife and fork--or, lacking those utensils, his claws--and wash you down with a sip of fine aged whiskey.

But seriously, though, your words have given me some points to think about for a possible redesign of the head. I still have a nebulous embryo of a story that needs to go with him; perhaps I'll post that along with an updated version of this design.

As for the belly, there are a few possible answers that I can give you. Firstly, as a purely physical explanation, his pose causes the skin of his belly to be stretched more tightly than on the rest of his body, smoothing out the texture. Secondly, as a matter of composition, it's good to have areas of higher and lower detail and texture, so that the eye with have both places to search and places to rest. Thirdly, the belly is not as important an area of the painting as the head or the pectoral musclulature, so less detail was necessary.
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2009
I do eventually get to the paintings I want to comment on.

I see your point about the conflict here between realism (this is a product of evolution), horror (this is a product of your DARKEST NIGHTMARES), and self referential humor (this is a product of the gee-whiz 1950s!). Actually, I think a backstory WOULD clear up that conflict. Where is this guy from? What does he do? Then it should be clearer what form he should assume.

Not being detailed everywhere: Huh. I never thought of that. That's a very good point, though. Make fewer details where you don't want people to look. Cool.

I'm glad this guy's such a gentleman. But, I think you forgot the monocle :)
M0AI Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
When one has but one eye, it takes a true sense of cultured sophistication to tell the difference between glasses and a monocle.

Fewer details is just one of many strategies you can use to guide the eye around a painting. Value contrast and color saturation and temperature are other things to consider.
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